Our New Casebook: “Comparative and Global Environmental Law and Policy,” Wolters Kluwer (2019)

I am really pleased to share the news that our law casebook “Comparative and Global Environmental Law and Policy,” co-authored with Anastasia Telesetsky (University of Idaho Law School), Lin Harmon-Walker (George Washington University Law School), and Robert Percival (University of Maryland Law School), is now officially available from Wolters Kluwer (ISBN: 9780735577299).


Here’s the blurb from our book’s back-cover:

“Over the past several decades, globalization has become central to the field of environmental law.  The most pressing contemporary environmental challenges are now transboundary and global in scope, with international environmental treaties and institutions dominating among the most visible solutions.  Even more important, however, has been the rapid spread and evolution of environmental law norms and policies in national systems across the world.  For example, these trends have led to the adoption of environmental impact assessment as a legal requirement by almost all countries, the rise of public interest litigation and green courts as key environmental governance mechanisms, and adoption of laws and regulatory mechanisms to address climate change and other environmental problems across the world.

Written by leading scholars and experts with extensive practice and teaching experience in the field, Comparative and Global Environmental Law and Policy offers a student-friendly approach to the study of a rapidly evolving and important area of law.  Its multi-jurisdictional selection of judicial opinions and legal materials introduces students to the worldwide reach of environmental law.  Through its substance, the book familiarizes students not only with governing and emerging legal principles but also demonstrates how legal norms are applied to specific issues and contexts, illustrating how law-on-the-books becomes law-in-action.”

Position: Trial Attorney, US Dept. of Justice, Environment Division, Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, Washington, DC (Deadline: 10/4/2019)

2 open position for experienced attorneys.


Here’s a write-up about the Wildlife Section:

“WMRS primarily handles civil defensive litigation under federal wildlife laws and laws concerning the protection of marine fish and mammals, including the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Section represents a broad range of federal regulatory and resource management agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Section’s cases involve challenges to rulemakings about which species should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, agency decisions about the way in which protected species are considered when federal agencies carry out their missions, and other litigation related to the balance between species protection and resource development in federal agency decision-making. The work of the Section is varied and often affords attorneys the opportunity to be involved in some of the most complex and important cases currently arising in this area of the law. This is not a criminal prosecution position.

WMRS seeks to hire and cultivate talented trial attorneys and provides its lawyers with regular and meaningful court experience in a variety of jurisdictions on a broad range of issues. Attorneys in the Section are assigned a docket of multiple cases and are given first-chair responsibility for all aspects of their cases including drafting procedural and dispositive motions, handling written and oral discovery when needed, conducting settlement negotiations, defending emergency motions, including examination of witnesses when necessary, and presenting oral argument. Attorneys in the Section also counsel client agencies on their compliance with statutes under the Section’s jurisdiction. The cases handled by WMRS require attorneys to achieve intellectual command of complicated facts, scientific principles, and legal issues, often rapidly.”

The Annual molting of the Chicken

As many know, Citizen Yang is also Farmer Yang.  Farmer Yang has a backyard fruit orchard as well as a flock of eleven egg-laying hens.  Prior to keeping chicken, Farmer Yang did not know that chicken lose all of their feathers on an annual basis, usually in the fall. One of our older hens, Opera, is now going through the molting process. She looks as if she was just through a bad fight. But all is normal. Molting chicken do seem to get shyer and they drop in the flock’s pecking order.  Ordinarily, Opera is a fairly dominant hen; but during this time of the year, it seems that other hens are picking on  her.  The last image is from the previous year, showing her in the full glory of her regular plumage.

Palm Oil Plantations and the Environment in Southeast Asia

Last month, I took a road trip from Penang, Malaysia to the capital Kuala Lumpur to attend the annual IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium (August 6-9, 2019).  Apart from seeing some scenic tourist spots, such as Melakka which is one of the original places where the Dutch and the British had their colonial headquarters prior to Malaysia’s independence, the trip was relatively uneventful. We did stop at various places to check out the sights or special foods.   And the main north-south freeway route was a modern and easy drive, not much unlike a freeway drive in the US.

What I did find remarkable, however, was the visible vegetation, which was pretty much the same through most of the four hours – miles and miles of palm plantations, sometimes as far as the eye could see beyond the freeway.  Environmental concern about palm oil plantations have steadily grown over the years.  These plantations destroy enormous swaths of native forest and replace naturally occurring biologically diverse ecosystems with a monoculture in order to supply the worlds hunger for palm oil.  Over the past few decades, palm oil demand and production has risen rapidly because some of its qualities make it a great additive or base for many foods and products.  Take a look at the ingredient labels of your favorite foods, and you may discover it listed.

In Indonesia, especially, palm oil plantation have presented especially serious problems because the methods by which forest lands have been cleared in order to make way for palm oil plantations has given rise to many serious forest fires, including igniting some of the peat in the soil, that have been incredibly difficult to extinguish.  Interestingly, the result of some of these fires have been serious transboundary air pollution problems that have affected also Singapore.

I have been following the transboundary air pollution issue with special interest because it’s given rise to a Singaporean statute, The Transboundary Haze Pollution Act of 2014 (THPA).  The title and issue should immediately give away why this is so remarkable . . . Singapore is a small island nation of just a little over 5 million people living on 280 square miles.  In other words, air pollution originating in nearby Indonesia, especially from the forest fires and peat fires associated with land clearing for palm oil planations,  will necessarily affect air quality in Singapore.


Southeast Asian Haze 2013 (Wikimedia Commons). Red spots indicate fires.

In order to protect air quality in Singapore, the THPA explicitly purports to regulate sources of pollution OUTSIDE of Singapore.  Under the statute, an offense of the statute would result if an entity causes air pollution affecting Singapore, which could be punished with a fine of up to 100,000 Singaporean dollars per day!  From a legal perspective, statutes that have an explicit extraterritorial reach are quite unusual, though not unheard of.  The US has sought to reach conduct outside of the US in the antitrust context, for example; but it has generally not done so on environmental issues (though US citizens remain subject to the reach of US law even outside of the US).  Anyway, from what I understand, the THPA has given rise to tricky issues in regards to conflict/tension with Indonesia, where much of the fire-related air pollution affecting Singapore originates, and enforcement has not been straight-forward.  In other words, the story on this statute is still playing itself out.

Since I mentioned my road trip to Melakka, I feel obligated to share images of the sites and food places we visited!  It includes an image of “Mamee,” the instant noodle monster . . . he (it? she?) looks surprisingly like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street . . .  mmmh.  We also found lots of durian (my kryptonite), a great Peranakan restaurant serving Laksa (a Malaysian specialty), and a tandoori/naan outdoor restaurant serving Pakistani/Northern Indian cuisine (just the tastiest tandoori I have ever had!).





Modified 9/18 – 2019-2020 Searches for Open Environmental Law Professor Positions

This year, there seem to be, again, a number of searches for law faculty positions that focus on or include environmental/energy/natural resource law as a desired specialty or interest area.  Mostly, these are searches that have been publicized through notices on various listservs that I subscribe to. (It seems that over the past few years, there has been more hiring for this field than in years prior.)  For those with such career goals, here are some of the institutions:

  1. Penn State Law in University Park (University Park, PA):  ” Penn State Law will be making two interdisciplinary hires. The first is a joint hire with the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment for a position in energy and/or environmental law.”  ” Penn State Law will be attending the AALS faculty recruitment conference, and entry level candidates are strongly encouraged to participate in the AALS Faculty Appointments Register. Lateral candidates should submit a current CV, four letters of reference, teaching evaluations, and a draft work-in-progress to Appointments@pennstatelaw.psu.edu. Specific inquiries should be addressed to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor Sam Thompson, at sct13@psu.edu.”
  2. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (Indianapolis, IN): “seeks a visiting faculty member to hold the Robert H. McKinney Family Chair in Environmental Law for the Spring 2020 semester with the possibility of continuing through Fall 2020. The law school invites applicants with the type of academic profile suitable for a titled position.” “Interested candidates should submit a CV and cover letter to Vice Dean Mike Pitts at mjpitts@iupui.edu. Applications
    will be reviewed on a rolling basis with September 15 as the deadline for all applications.”
  3. University of Florida Levin College of Law (Gainesville, FL): “In reviewing applications, the Appointments Committee will consider long-term teaching needs in large enrollment classes, environmental law, health law, tax, and law and technology.”  “For further information, applicants may contact Professors Daniel Sokol and Michael Wolf at P.O. Box 117620, Gainesville, FL 32611 or email appointments@law.ufl.edu.”
  4. Florida International University College of Law (Miami, FL):  ” two tenured or tenure-track Assistant, Associate, or full Professor of Law positions to begin in the 2020-21 academic year. Our primary curricular interests are Cyber Law (focusing on cybercrime/forensics, interconnected cities, infrastructure security, and general
    cybersecurity training and education), Environmental Law, Wills & Trusts, and Torts. The Cyber Law position may be a joint appointment with another FIU School or College.” “For any questions related to the position, please contact Appointments Committee co-chairs Jan Osei-Tutu (joseitut@fiu.edu) or Scott Norberg (norberg@fiu.edu). To receive full consideration, applications and required materials should be received by September 30.”
  5. The University of Baltimore School of Law (Baltimore, MD):  ” We will consider applicants with a wide range of teaching interests, including, but not limited to, all First Year Subjects, as well as Family Law, Commercial Law, and Environmental Law.”  “Contact (e-mail preferred): Professor David Jaros, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Baltimore School of Law, 1420 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-5779, djaros@ubalt.edu.”
  6. University of California at Davis School of Law (Davis, CA): “invites applications for a Water Justice Clinical Lecturer, who will act as the director of the Aoki Water Justice Clinic, by October 20, 2019 and/or until the position is filled.” “All candidates must apply through the UC Recruit system at the following link: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/JPF03045. For full consideration, applicants should apply by October 20, 2019, although we recommend that you submit your materials as soon as possible.”
  7. The University of Tulsa College of Law (Tulsa, OK):  “The areas of interest may include, but are not necessarily limited to, civil procedure, property, business law, transactional law, Indian law, energy and natural resource law, contracts, and other first year and required courses.” “Please submit letters of interest and résumés to Prof. Robert Spoo, Chair, Appointments Committee, University of Tulsa College of Law, 3120 E. 4th Place, Tulsa, OK 74104, or by email to robert-spoo@utulsa.edu.”
  8. The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law: “seeks entry-level or junior lateral candidates for at least one tenure-track position. Our primary areas of need are Dispute Resolution, Business Law, and Race and Law. Secondary areas of need include Antitrust, Banking/Insurance, Civil Procedure/Complex Litigation, Commercial Law, Evidence, Immigration, Intellectual Property/Law and Technology, Natural Resources/Energy Law, Poverty/Social Welfare Law, Property/Real Estate, and Wills & Trusts.” “Candidates should send a cover letter and C.V. to Daniel Tokaji, Associate Dean for Faculty, tokaji.1@osu.edu, stating that they are applying for this position.”
  9. Added – The University of Denver Sturm College of Law:  “we anticipate particular interests in administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, environmental and natural resources law (including energy law), evidence, international law, professional responsibility, property, tax, and veterans advocacy.”  ” Interested persons should send a cover letter, resume (including at least three references), teaching statement, and research agenda to Professor José Roberto (Beto) Juárez Jr., Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee (bjuarez@law.du.edu).”
  10. Added – Texas Tech University School of Law:  ” open faculty position (Requisition 1877BR). Anticipated curricular needs include Water Law, Property, and Environmental Law. “successful candidate will also serve as the Director for the Law School’s Center for Water Law and Policy. If tenured, the successful candidate may also be considered to fill the position of the George W. McCleskey Professor of Water Law.” “In addition to serving as the Center’s Director, responsibilities would include teaching Water Law and related courses such as Property and Environmental Law. ” “Please submit your cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references electronically to the attention of Professor Brian D. Shannon, Chair, Personnel Committee, at the Texas.”
  11. Added – University of Houston Law Center:  “The University of Houston Law Center invites applications for a non-tenure track Instructional Associate Professor of Law position; with Environmental Law emphasis for the academic year 2020-2021.” “This non-tenure track appointment may have a one-year probationary contract period with no presumption of renewal. However, based upon continued positive evaluations of the appointee, or sufficiently high experience and expertise when entering into the position, the position may provide or lead to a presumptively renewable multiyear contract. The initial salary range for this position is expected to be $90,000 to $100,000 for a nine-month academic year, but the precise salary will be negotiated based on the candidate’s experience and on compensation paid or offered to professors in comparable positions at comparable law schools.” ” The successful candidate will have the opportunity to teach environmental law courses, but experience or willingness to teach elsewhere in the Law Center curriculum, including 1L courses, will be a helpful credential depending on the course preferences.” “To receive fullest consideration, your online application must be received by September 10, 2019. Candidates can direct inquiries to Professor Robert Ragazzo, RRagazzo@central.uh.edu Please reference and review the University of Houston’s NTT Faculty Policy, available at this link: http://www.uh.edu/provost/faculty/current/non-tenure-track. “

And for those really serious about and already committed to entering the legal academy as environmental law professors, Pace Law School (White Plains, NY) hosts an annual workshop for aspiring environmental law professors. This year’s workshop is coming up on September 13, 2019.  Here’s the registration link:  https://law.pace.edu/future-environmental-law-professors​​


Globalization of Environmental Law Seminar with Interdisciplinary Audience at Stockholm Environment Institute (at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), July 30, 2019


I had a very thoughtful set of commentators and interdisciplinary audience at my “Globalization of Environmental Law” talk at the Stockholm Environment Institute  at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand) several weeks ago (July 30, 2019).

(Here is the original poster for the talk, https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6556397583848300544/).

The talk was hosted by my former student Sara Phillips, a Vermont Law School and McGill University graduate.  Sara is a former energy and natural resource lawyer who practiced in a variety of international locales, including in Mongolia, and is currently a PhD Candidate in the GRID Program, Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University, as well as a Doctoral Fellow in the Stockholm Environment Institute.  Commentators were Dr. Naporn Popattanachai, Assistant Dean for Administration and Director of the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, Thammasat University, and May Thazin Aung, Research Associate, Stockholm Environment Institute.  (Incidentally, May is a Vermont Law School graduate of the MSEL program.)

Among the interesting issues that came up in the discussions was the huge shadow that China is casting over so many environmental issues in Southeast Asia through its Belt and Road Initiative as well as the tensions between Southeast Asian nations and China on water issues related to the Mekong River (and the Mekong River Commission) because of China’s position as an upstream nation and the many dams it has built on the Mekong.


Summer Gardening

I don’t usually talk about my gardening, though my friends and students know how much I enjoy it, and I can’t resist here.  (Gardening is also a great way to appreciate the connection that we all have to the soil and earth – just ask my happy compost earthworms.)  I just came home from a long trip to Asia for conferences, meetings, and family visits and inspected my overgrown garden this morning.  My neighbors had been kind enough to look after our chicken and water the plants.  (When we were still living in Vermont, I would regularly walk my land . . . haha, all 2 acres it; it would be a quick walk; this morning was even quicker.) All the growth that’s happened is actually one of the most delightful things to discover after one has been away.   I found a championship-size zucchini (shoe/foot for scale; actual size was 20 inches), though it may not be edible anymore, as well as lots of tomatoes and ripe pluots from my “Flavor King” tree.  The pluots have an incredibly “perfumed” flavor – hard to describe, but I have never had anything like it in the supermarket.  (If you live in the San Jose area, I’ll be happy to share, though beware that most of them have already dropped.)  I am also a great garden-ripe tomato fan – there really is nothing better than summer tomatoes that have been ripened in the garden.  My Asian pear trees have also come along – there’ll be a bountyful harvest in a month or so!

There were also a couple of gardening lessons I was planning to pass along – things I learned the hard way this year. Hopefully, they will be of use to others.  But I will do that separately.

In the meantime, here are two other things I discovered in my travels — for your amusement. The first is the little upstart-cousin of the Ritz-Carlton (in Kuala Lumpur), and the second is the local (at the Kuala Lumpur airport) menu of Burger King — Taro pie and Pineapple pie (the local counterpart to the standard US apple pie).  I was only recently told by a student that BK and McD’s have local menu items in various countries around the world, so I have been looking out for them.